Interviews | Simon Townsend (The Who): “Performance at the Olympics in London is the main achievement of my career”

For more than half a century the backbone of The Who, one of the greatest groups in the world, is the mighty duo of Roger Daltrey and Peter Townsend. Not always the attention of the press and fans is focused on other musicians who appear on stage during the show Who, but now it is such a unique case. Rock Cult talked with Simon Townsend – the multi-year tour guitarist of the band, Peter’s brother and a man from an early childhood in the inner "kitchen" of the legendary band.

Rock Cult: The first question will be about your solo career. Tell us about your recent album Denial, will you be touring with his material on Russia or the surrounding countries? Do we have a chance to hear it live?

Simon: Yes, there is a chance. I just had a new manager working with other regions (except Great Britain), opportunities … So yeah, the chances are really great.

Rock Cult: A lot of people are waiting not to wait, when it will be possible to hear it live, so we hope to see you here.

Simon: Well, The Who, I suppose, too.

Rock Cult: The Who began their careers when you were only four years old, did not they? You were a very small boy. Has your brother, his career, become a source of inspiration for you, or have you become a musician for some other reason?

Simon: Well, he really influenced me a little, my whole family became a source of inspiration for me in the field of music. After all, my father was a musician, my mother sang well, well, Pete, of course, too. So we had musical rooms, pianos and guitars. Around us there were many ways of access to music, so she came to me naturally.

Rock Cult: So, you have not considered any other profession? You did not want to become anyone else, except a musician?

Simon: No, what you! I was fond of football when I was a kid. But what I did not like about football was training. I did football, but not too much. In the end, I took a step towards music – it was easier. It’s easier to fix what you know.

Rock Cult: You have worked with many bands and musicians besides The Who: for example, Pearl Jam or Dave Grohl. Are you dreaming of working with someone else? Or maybe you already have any plans?

Simon: I would like to play with Stevie Wonder.

Rock Cult: Wow!

Simon: You know, he was a legend of my childhood, my favorite performer. So I really would like to work with him. I also love Paul Weller, I would like to do something with him. And Peter Gabriel. Do you know Peter Gabriel?

Rock Cult: Yes, of course.

For more than half a century the backbone of The Who, one of the greatest groups in the world, is the mighty duo of Roger Daltrey and Peter Townsend. Not always the attention of the press and fans is focused on other musicians who appear on stage during the show Who, but now it is such a unique case. Rock Cult talked with Simon Townsend – the multi-year tour guitarist of the band, Peter’s brother and a man from an early childhood in the inner "kitchen" of the legendary band.

Rock Cult: The first question will be about your solo career. Tell us about your recent album Denial, will you be touring with his material on Russia or the surrounding countries? Do we have a chance to hear it live?

Simon: Yes, there is a chance. I just had a new manager working with other regions (except Great Britain), opportunities … So yeah, the chances are really great.

Rock Cult: A lot of people are waiting not to wait, when it will be possible to hear it live, so we hope to see you here.

Simon: Well, The Who, I suppose, too.

Rock Cult: The Who began their careers when you were only four years old, did not they? You were a very small boy. Has your brother, his career, become a source of inspiration for you, or have you become a musician for some other reason?

Simon: Well, he really influenced me a little, my whole family became a source of inspiration for me in the field of music. After all, my father was a musician, my mother sang well, well, Pete, of course, too. So we had musical rooms, pianos and guitars. Around us there were many ways of access to music, so she came to me naturally.

Rock Cult: So, you have not considered any other profession? You did not want to become anyone else, except a musician?

Simon: No, what you! I was fond of football when I was a kid. But what I did not like about football was training. I did football, but not too much. In the end, I took a step towards music – it was easier. It’s easier to fix what you know.

Rock Cult: You have worked with many bands and musicians besides The Who: for example, Pearl Jam or Dave Grohl. Are you dreaming of working with someone else? Or maybe you already have any plans?

Simon: I would like to play with Stevie Wonder.

Rock Cult: Wow!

Simon: You know, he was a legend of my childhood, my favorite performer. So I really would like to work with him. I also love Paul Weller, I would like to do something with him. And Peter Gabriel. Do you know Peter Gabriel?

Rock Cult: Yes, of course.

Simon: It would be an interesting collaboration.

Interviews | Simon Townsend (The Who): "Performance at the Olympics in London is the main achievement of my career"

Rock Cult: Do you listen to any new bands that are popular at the moment?

For more than half a century the backbone of The Who, one of the greatest groups in the world, is the mighty duo of Roger Daltrey and Peter Townsend. Not always the attention of the press and fans is focused on other musicians who appear on stage during the show Who, but now it is such a unique case. Rock Cult talked with Simon Townsend – the multi-year tour guitarist of the band, Peter’s brother and a man from an early childhood in the inner "kitchen" of the legendary band.

Rock Cult: The first question will be about your solo career. Tell us about your recent album Denial, will you be touring with his material on Russia or the surrounding countries? Do we have a chance to hear it live?

Simon: Yes, there is a chance. I just had a new manager working with other regions (except Great Britain), opportunities … So yeah, the chances are really great.

Rock Cult: A lot of people are waiting not to wait, when it will be possible to hear it live, so we hope to see you here.

Simon: Well, The Who, I suppose, too.

Rock Cult: The Who began their careers when you were only four years old, did not they? You were a very small boy. Has your brother, his career, become a source of inspiration for you, or have you become a musician for some other reason?

Simon: Well, he really influenced me a little, my whole family became a source of inspiration for me in the field of music. After all, my father was a musician, my mother sang well, well, Pete, of course, too. So we had musical rooms, pianos and guitars. Around us there were many ways of access to music, so she came to me naturally.

Rock Cult: So, you have not considered any other profession? You did not want to become anyone else, except a musician?

Simon: No, what you! I was fond of football when I was a kid. But what I did not like about football was training. I did football, but not too much. In the end, I took a step towards music – it was easier. It’s easier to fix what you know.

Rock Cult: You have worked with many bands and musicians besides The Who: for example, Pearl Jam or Dave Grohl. Are you dreaming of working with someone else? Or maybe you already have any plans?

Simon: I would like to play with Stevie Wonder.

Rock Cult: Wow!

Simon: You know, he was a legend of my childhood, my favorite performer. So I really would like to work with him. I also love Paul Weller, I would like to do something with him. And Peter Gabriel. Do you know Peter Gabriel?

Rock Cult: Yes, of course.

For more than half a century the backbone of The Who, one of the greatest groups in the world, is the mighty duo of Roger Daltrey and Peter Townsend. Not always the attention of the press and fans is focused on other musicians who appear on stage during the show Who, but now it is such a unique case. Rock Cult talked with Simon Townsend – the multi-year tour guitarist of the band, Peter’s brother and a man from an early childhood in the inner "kitchen" of the legendary band.

Rock Cult: The first question will be about your solo career. Tell us about your recent album Denial, will you be touring with his material on Russia or the surrounding countries? Do we have a chance to hear it live?

Simon: Yes, there is a chance. I just had a new manager working with other regions (except Great Britain), opportunities … So yeah, the chances are really great.

Rock Cult: A lot of people are waiting not to wait, when it will be possible to hear it live, so we hope to see you here.

Simon: Well, The Who, I suppose, too.

Rock Cult: The Who began their careers when you were only four years old, did not they? You were a very small boy. Has your brother, his career, become a source of inspiration for you, or have you become a musician for some other reason?

Simon: Well, he really influenced me a little, my whole family became a source of inspiration for me in the field of music. After all, my father was a musician, my mother sang well, well, Pete, of course, too. So we had musical rooms, pianos and guitars. Around us there were many ways of access to music, so she came to me naturally.

Rock Cult: So, you have not considered any other profession? You did not want to become anyone else, except a musician?

Simon: No, what you! I was fond of football when I was a kid. But what I did not like about football was training. I did football, but not too much. In the end, I took a step towards music – it was easier. It’s easier to fix what you know.

Rock Cult: You have worked with many bands and musicians besides The Who: for example, Pearl Jam or Dave Grohl. Are you dreaming of working with someone else? Or maybe you already have any plans?

Simon: I would like to play with Stevie Wonder.

Rock Cult: Wow!

Simon: You know, he was a legend of my childhood, my favorite performer. So I really would like to work with him. I also love Paul Weller, I would like to do something with him. And Peter Gabriel. Do you know Peter Gabriel?

Rock Cult: Yes, of course.

Simon: It would be an interesting collaboration.

Interviews | Simon Townsend (The Who): "Performance at the Olympics in London is the main achievement of my career"

Rock Cult: Do you listen to any new bands that are popular at the moment?

Simon: Maybe … Well, if I need to choose, I would like to work with Kasabian, because, in my opinion, they are the closest to the groups of my time. You see, from my point of view there is not much quality in music now. That is, modern technologies have made the recording process too simple. Around so much shit … So much rubbish … But Kasabian is a good band, remembering its origins. I like them. Are they popular in Russia?

Rock Cult: Yes, very. They have been with us several times.

Simon: They are very popular in Europe. Probably, in America they are not loved so much, but they are an excellent company of excellent guys.

Rock Cult: About a year and a half ago there were rumors that a new album The Who. Is there any work on it? Maybe there are already some dates?

Simon: We have not started the recording yet, although Pete has stuff. So I think that there is a possibility of releasing the album next year. New album. But this probability largely depends on Sir Roger (Daltrey, note author) Sir Roger was recently ill, and we even had to postpone the recent tour.

Rock Cult: Tell us a little about how The Who played at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. In your opinion, what are the main differences between an ordinary stadium concert and a performance at the Olympics?

Simon: It was a special concert, because London is my hometown. So to play there … Just one month before all this happened, I did not even suspect that I could perform at the Olympics. That was incredible. It’s an incredible honor to be a part of it all. I was delighted! Perhaps, this is the main achievement of my career. I enjoyed every second of the process! Such an honor! I think that every person who has crossed the 50-year mark must look back and find in his life some such great event.

Rock Cult: Terrific! Now many bands make covers of The songs Who. Surely you have heard some of them, are there any among them that you like?

Simon: The ones that I like? I must say that I really like the version of Behind Blue Eyes from … Oh … What are they called? …

Simon: Repeat, please.

Rock Cult: Limp Bizkit, they are called Limp Bizkit.

Simon: Exactly, Limp Bizkit! I love this version, but I’m pretty sure that they did not really understand it. They changed the words, making them more accessible. I would not like that. But after living with these thoughts for a while, I came to the conclusion that it really worked. I liked their version. And I also like the version Summertime Blues from Joan Jett.

Rock Cult: This year marks the 40th anniversary of The film Who "Tommy". You played it in childhood, did not you? Could you tell us some interesting episodes that you remember from the filming process or from the time when the film has already been released?

Simon: Oh, I was very small when we did all this. I was probably about seven years old, and I was in the studio with my other brother, Paul. We began to play a little, it was already dark, and it was already time for us to be home. Then Pete did not appear so often in our lives. That’s why it was incredibly great when Pete finally joined us, and even right in the London studio. It was very cool. And then Pete says: "Do you want to try to record your voice?" And I generally did not really sing in the studio. I never put headphones on my head, and I never heard my voice from the microphone. So for a kid of my age it was an incredible experience. Pete praised me, turned on the second track and asked me to sing again over the first take, keeping the same timbre – and I did it cleanly. Everyone liked how I sang – that’s how it all began for me. In the studio, in the episode "Tommy" "Smash The Mirror". I sang "Rise Rise Rise …", because no other voice could reach such high notes.

Rock Cult: It’s great. Well, that was my last question. I know that not so long ago, October 10 was your birthday, so – happy birthday! And thank you for spending some time with me!

Simon: Thank you very much, I really appreciate it! Always please, I myself am very happy. Thank you!

Interviewed Lana Alterova and Ivan Balashov

Interviews | Simon Townsend (The Who): "Performance at the Olympics in London is the main achievement of my career"

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